(Finalist for the 2001 Irish Times Irish Literature Prize for Fiction and a New York Times Notable Book of 2001) Before she gave us the Man Booker Prize finalist Room, Emma Donoghue penned this "colorful romp of a novel" (NYTBR) about a girl in Victorian London, for whom the allure of fine clothes would spell her downfall. This edition contains an author's note and a reading group guide.
"Donoghue shows her mastery of 18th-century England and epic storytelling in this first novel about a young woman named Mary Saunders, who was born poor and destined to remain so. Taking as her premise the true crimes of the real-life Mary Saunders, Donoghue paints a colorful and complex life led amid the dirt and filth of lower-class London streets. While her mother sews dull-looking quilts, Mary spies the lewd women dressed in bright, vibrant colors that work the streets for their bread and butter.... Too young to learn other trades, too poor and uneducated to be a governess, but just the right age (14) to start in the oldest profession, Mary takes to the streets in order to survive."—Booklist